Governor Phil Murphy has signed an Executive Order extending the moratorium that prevents New Jersey residents from having their utilities shut off.
This new executive order comes just in time, as the last extension ran out on October 15th. This extension forbids utility companies from disconnecting service through at least March 15, 2021.
Executive Order No. 190 applies to all residential gas, electric and water utilities, both public and private. They may not charge late fees or and any service that has been disconnected after March 16 must be reconnected without charge.
“New Jerseyans are hurting and many of our fellow state residents, who have lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic need help,” Governor Murphy said. “Extending the utility moratorium is the right thing to do as so many in our state struggle to pay their bills during one of the most devastating economic crises in the history of our country. As we enter the winter months it becomes even more imperative that we work with our state’s utilities keep the lights on and families warm.”
This executive order also extends the moratorium on disconnecting the internet to November 15.
Additionally, cable and telecommunications providers are prohibited under this executive order to disconnect the internet to a household that has one or more school-age children who use the internet for educational purposes. They are also required to reconnect service if there is a change in circumstance that requires a student to use the internet for schooling.
After November 15, cable and telecommunications providers are required to enroll customers with an already existing account in an interest-free payment plan of at least 12 equal monthly installments, including the balance already due, prior to disconnecting the customer’s service.
Although the moratorium is being extended, utility customers are still encouraged to set up payment plans with their utilities so they can begin paying their bills, if they are able, over a period of time.
Utility customers are also urged to apply for the assistance programs that are available at both the [**Board of Public Utilities**](https://nj.gov/bpu/assistance/programs/index.html) and the Department of Community Affairs and from their utilities.
Executive Order No. 190 can be found [**here**](https://nj.gov/infobank/eo/056murphy/pdf/EO-190.pdf).